OMAHA, Neb. – Gov. Doug Burgum, along with governors from seven other states, met with Japanese leaders today at the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association’s 50th annual conference in Omaha.
The annual conference brings together leaders from the U.S. and Japanese governments to promote trade and cooperation between the two countries.
“We’re deeply grateful to our partners from Japan for their continued collaboration and partnership,” Burgum said. “As one of our most important trading partners, Japan represents a tremendous opportunity to help grow and diversify our state’s economy and create additional 21st century jobs.”
At the conference, Burgum met with leaders from multiple areas of the Japanese government, including Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Shinsuke J. Sugiyama and prefecture governors, along with several industry leaders. During these bilateral meetings, Burgum highlighted areas for investment in North Dakota and the opportunity for ethanol produced in the state to be exported to Japan, following the country’s move to allow imports of corn-based ethanol.
Other governors attending the conference included Govs. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Jeff Colyer of Kansas, Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Bruce Rauner of Illinois, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Rick Snyder of Michigan and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Japan is North Dakota’s seventh-largest export market, with $34 million in annual trade in 2017. Japanese companies are involved with 20 business facilities around the state and employ more than 300 people. This marks the first year of North Dakota’s involvement in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association.